Every so often during a dead ball, Kelly Olynyk caught himself putting on his own one-man dunk contest.
None of them counted.
Not the one when he ran the floor with Phil Pressey in the second quarter, took a drop-back pass from Pressey and took off from the middle and tomahawked the ball one-handed because Magic guard Elfrid Payton hacked Pressey while trying to pass.
“He called my name and I knew he was going to dunk that one,” Pressey said. “But we didn’t get that one.”
Nor the one when Jeff Green tried to get off a circus shot from behind the backboard and Olynyk launched himself from outside the restricted circle to clean it up with a one-handed tip-dunk, because Maurice Harkless bodied Green on the way up.
“We knew he was feeling pretty good,” Rajon Rondo said after the Celtics rolled past the Magic, 109-92, Wednesday night at TD Garden. “He had a couple plays where they blew the whistle and then finished it with dunks. We were joking with him a little bit. He was tired of being the other guy on the other side under the rim.’’
Eventually, Olynyk got what he had hunted for all night.
He was trailing Evan Turner up the floor, and Turner found him at the top of the arc. Olynyk faked Payton off his feet, then made his move to the lane and even with three defenders under the rim, Olynyk had his mind made up.
“I don’t know what happened,” Olynyk said. “I wasn’t really thinking.”
He ended up dunking over Harkless and Kyle O’Quinn, splashing to the floor after bending the rim with two hands, getting the foul and going to the free throw line for a 3-point play that put the Celtics up 10 early in the fourth quarter.
After going back and forth with the Magic, that was the point when the Celtics ultimately seized control.
Olynyk followed up his breakout 30-point, nine-rebound performance against the 76ers on Monday with 15 points and six rebounds, joining five other Celtics in double figures.
The Celtics found themselves in a 10-point hole early, but Olynyk helped fuel a second-quarter run that got the Celtics back in it by knocking down three straight buckets — a 25-footer that cut it to 47-40, a shot that banked in from nine feet to cut it to 47-42, and then after a Victor Oladipo jumper, another three from 24 feet that cut it to 49-45.
“I’m not going to give a whole lot of credence to Kelly’s run because that bank in the middle was unintended and lucky,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, grinning. “But he’s scoring and playing well.”
The Celtics used a 19-6 run to close the half and go into the locker room with a 56-53 lead.
Seven first-quarter turnovers by the Celtics (which turned into 9 points the other way) helped the Magic build their early lead, but the rest of the night the Celtics curbed their giveaways, turning it over just seven times the rest of the game. The Celtics closed the door by outscoring the Magic, 31-19, in the final quarter, shooting 68 percent in the period while holding the Magic to 40 percent.
“We started to really defend,” Stevens said.
Rondo flirted with a triple-double with 13 points, 15 assists, and 7 rebounds.
But the Celtics were largely fueled by a second unit that outscored the Magic’s bench, 50-24. Brandon Bass finished with a team-high 18 off the bench.
From the dunks to the defense, Bass said Olynyk was a spark.
“I was thinking, ‘He’s overdue for a play like that,’ ” Bass said of the dunk that counted. “When we’re doing 5-on-0 [drills], he does some spectacular dunks. So yeah, I think he can do it.
“I think it’s big time for us as a group for him to be aggressive like he’s been in the last two games. He’s a talented guy.
“It’s good for him to see that hard work pays off. For me, that’s been everything for me, putting in the work and over the years, it’s paid off for me. So for Kelly to see it paying off for him, I think it’ll encourage him to continue to work and it’ll continue to help him improve as a player.”